Gantz elected Israel’s parliament speaker, moves closer to unity govt with Netanyahu

Israeli opposition leader Benny Gantz was elected on Thursday as speaker of parliament in a surprise move. It appears to herald a political partnership that could keep Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in power.

With only the partial backing of the centrist former general Gantz’s Blue and White party and the support of Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud, Gantz was elected with 74 votes in the 120-member Knesset. It could pave the way for a “rotation deal” in which Netanyahu and Gantz would take turns as prime minister.

Talks to form a unity government were in progress between both parties after a March 2 inconclusive election and in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Gantz left many of his own political allies fuming over the smoothing of a path to partnership with Netanyahu, Reuters said.